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New tools to improve sector's digital marketing skills

We've collaborated with CIMSPA to produce a Digital Marketing Hub that aims to fill a gap in the digital skills of the sport and physical activity sector.

10th June 2021

Free digital marketing training is being made available to the sport and physical activity sector as we look to encourage more people to play sport and be active.

Our Digital Marketing Hub will be delivered by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) using learning content provided by a consortium of partners.

It's the result of a collaboration between us and CIMSPA and has been developed using £450,000 of National Lottery funding.

The idea for the hub came as a response to findings highlighting a significant digital skills gap within the sector and it'll include online courses, webinars and resources with the aim of helping people and organisations delivering sport and physical activity to improve their skills.

A man wearing a tracksuit top talks to his phone, while wearing headphones, delivering a physical activity session online.

Research conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute, on our behalf, found 63% of the people surveyed – more than 1,000 people involved in sport and physical activity marketing and communications – said they don’t have a clear plan to attract new audiences through their digital channels.

It also found 81% said attracting new participants was very, or extremely, important and 25% rated their organisation as ‘not at all’ effective at adapting to new trends and insights – with just 10% rating their organisations as ‘very or extremely’ effective.

The hub aims to improve these figures and our executive director of digital, marketing and communications, Ali Donnelly, knows how vital it could be in encouraging people back to activity following the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“More than ever before we are competing for people’s time and attention with sectors that are far ahead of ours in how they market their services or activities,” she said.

“Done well, digital marketing has a huge role to play in making grassroots sport and physical activity reach and engage more people, ultimately driving up participation numbers.

“As things stand, and as our research bears out, we know that many people and organisations who are working to help people to be active are doing so without the necessary knowledge or confidence when it comes to digital best practice.

“While we throw all our energy into getting people back out there and involved in sport and physical activity, it is important that this skills gap is also addressed so that the sector can emerge in an even stronger place than it was prior to Covid-19.

“A key part of our strategic ambition to tackle inequalities and ensure every single person in the country has the opportunity to be active, the launch of the Digital Marketing Hub will play a major role in upskilling the sector with a view to helping every person in the country see sport and physical activity as both accessible and relevant to them.”

In addition to bite-size modules and a live webinar series, the hub – a part of our ongoing work to help the sector recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic – will also offer peer networking opportunities.

The hub will be tailored to small businesses, self-employed professionals and volunteers at frontline organisations and clubs, as well as marketing and communication professionals at larger organisations.

Done well, digital marketing has a huge role to play in making grassroots sport and physical activity reach and engage more people, ultimately driving up participation numbers.

Ali Donnelly

Executive director of digital, marketing and communications, Sport England

It’ll explore how digital marketing can be used to re-engage people with sport and activity, but also how to reach new audiences, how to apply insight, measure the effectiveness of marketing and improve skills across a variety of digital platforms.

We’ve recently collaborated with CIMSPA on their ReTrain to Retain support package, and their chief executive officer Tara Dillon is excited to see the impact of the hub.

“We are very pleased to continue our close collaboration with Sport England to deliver this project, which will directly benefit the workforce and organisations right across the sector,” she said.

“The Digital Marketing Hub is a fantastic opportunity for individuals to gain skills and knowledge from experts from across the marketing sector, as well as those specifically positioned in sport and physical activity.

“Digital marketing has an increasingly important role to play, especially for self-employed and freelance professionals who rely on it to reach and engage their customers.

“In the last 18 months it has become even more important to develop these skills, with many businesses and individuals needing to rebuild as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

“A key part of the Digital Marketing Hub will be upskilling the sector with a view to reaching a more diverse and inclusive audience, and positioning sport and physical activity as accessible to all.”

Register your interest now to be first to hear about the platform and webinar series going live.

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